Breast Imaging & Treatment
Totally Digital Mammography Center
Virginia Hospital Center now offers the latest in breast cancer screening. This new test is call breast tomosynthesis or 3D (three-dimensional) mammography
For more information on scheduling and fees,
please call 703.558.8500.
The Women’s Imaging Center at Virginia Hospital Center is recognized as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
What is Mammography?
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breasts. It is used to detect tumors and cysts and to help differentiate between benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) growths. It is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
What is a 3D mammography and how does it work?
3D mammography (Breast Tomosynthesis) is a revolutionary new screening tool for breast cancer detection. 3D mammography complements the standard digital mammogram and is performed at the same time with the same system. There is no additional compression required, and it takes only a few more seconds longer for each view. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images. Then a computer converts the digital breast pictures into a stack of very thin layers or slices. The radiologist is able to review the reconstruction, one thin slice at a time, almost like turning pages in a book. This makes it easier for doctors to see if there’s anything to be concerned about, and there is less chance for a cancer to hide behind overlapping tissue.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
- Women over age 20 should be aware of the warning signs and risk factors for breast cancer
- The American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram screening every year for all women age 40 and older.
Who can have a 3D mammogram exam?
3D mammography is now available as a voluntary addition to traditional mammography for patients having either screening or diagnostic comprehensive exams. It is helpful for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram regardless of age, breast density, or family history.
What are the risks?
Just as with conventional mammography, the 3D mammogram uses very low doses of x-rays. The amount of radiation exposure is safely below the guidelines approved by the American College of Radiology and the FDA.
Do I need a physician referral for a 3D mammogram?
You will need a referral from your physician to schedule a conventional mammogram, but your doctor does not have to specifically order the 3D mammogram. If you are interested in having a 3D mammogram, please notify the scheduler when you call to make an appointment.
Can I choose not to have this exam?
You do not have to have this exam. You can decide if you would like to have it done or not. If you choose not to, you will still receive a standard digital mammogram.
Will my insurance cover the costs?
Because this technology is new, at this time insurance does not cover the 3D portion of the mammogram. The standard 2D portion of the exam is billed to your insurance as usual.
What is the cost for a 3D mammogram?
The cost is $50; payable at the time of service, either by check or credit card.